The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted students’ experiences. While current Wayne State students will adjust to a different college lifestyle, an incoming freshman class is going into the fall under new circumstances.
"Starting college at WSU in the fall is bittersweet because going to college is exciting for me, but at the same time, I won't be able to get the full experience as a freshman," said Luke Allen, an incoming WSU freshman.
The 2020 fall semester will happen, but there will now be a more significant presence of remote and online courses, making up roughly 46% of classes this fall.
Despite the circumstances, the 2020 overall projected freshman enrollment is higher than last year, Vice President for Communications and Chief of Staff Michael Wright said in an email to the WSU community on Aug. 3.
The Undergraduate Admission Office understands students’ decisions may change for various reasons when it comes to enrollment.
"In the 2019 Fall semester, WSU experienced its second-largest class of incoming students. It's difficult to predict the incoming class amid a pandemic that has greatly impacted students and their families," Senior Director of Admissions Erika Matthews-Jackson said.
The university is on pace to have 3,000 new students this year, Wright said in the email.
Incoming freshmen have contacted Admissions regarding the university reopening plan and financial situations, Matthews-Jackson said.
"I am looking forward to the change of pace for work and school, but I have a few concerns from getting the college experience and understanding the concepts that I will be learning," said Makayla Gass, an incoming WSU freshman.
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions has made sure students receive the correct information, Matthews-Jackson said.
"The Undergraduate Admission and Financial Aid Office have been intentionally reaching out via email, text, and phone to ensure students are comfortable with their enrollment and that support is provided to students and their families," she said.
Warrior Vision and Impact Program Coordinator Kenya Swanson said the Academic Success Center is optimistic about the 2020 enrollment numbers.
Warrior VIP is a supportive learning community that aims to help incoming students have a successful transition to college life.
Students are invited to be a part of Warrior VIP, which includes those who would like extra support throughout their freshman year along with students from local high schools who may have been suggested by counselors, according to the program’s website.
The program has adjusted to help students through a much different transition, with about 220 students a part of the fall group and 250 able to be accepted.
"VIP has continued to pair students with peer mentors earlier to get them interacted with each other and resources available," Swanson said.
Warrior VIP summer programs are still taking place to support students, their parents and to create a smooth transition.
Swanson said Warrior VIP stresses that it is important students stay connected with the resources WSU offers.
“Creating an intentional online community in which students are aware of the resources is essential,” she said.
Amanda Duren is a contributing writer for The South End. She can be reached at Amanda.Duren@wayne.edu.